Step #1: Download the Firefox add-on
The add-on will appear on a pop-up bar on the bottom of your screen. If you click on Zotero text on the bar then it will expand to show your library. If you close out of the bar, you can open it again by going to the Firefox main menu-->Options-->Add-on bar. This pop-up bar will be your main device for adding sources to your library.
Step #2: Create a Zotero account
This will be your online account, which allows you to check your sources on any computer, regardless of whether the Zotero add-on is installed.
This will sync your online Zotero account and the add-on you've installed in your personal browser. That way, no matter what computer you're using, you can see the documents you've saved in your account. To sync. go to the settings icon, select "Preferences" from the drop-down menu, and then go to the "Sync" button.
Step #4: Creating a collection
You'll want to create a collection to group all the sources you find for one project together. To create a collection, go to the Zotero window, and click on the folder in the top left-hand corner. If you already have items in your main library, you can drag and drop those into the collection folder.
Step #5- Set-up your default citation style
To select a specific citation style for all your citations, go to gear button, then Preferences--> Export--> Default Output Format, and select the style you wish to use.
The easiest way to add items to your collection is when your searching the article databases and internet. When you see an item that you want to save, look for an icon on the right-hand side of the URL box.
The "note paper" icon
The icon looks like a little piece of paper. You'll get this icon when you're on the record of a specific article. Clicking on this will add the bibliographic information, full-text if its available, and any keywords or tags associated with the article to your collection.
Once you've saved the article in your library, you can click on the triangle next to the article to get a saved copy of the full-text, if it was available. You can also see keywords associated with all the aritcles in your collection.
The "folder" icon
When you see this icon, it usually means you're on a page with a list of documents. If you click on the folder icon, you'll get a pop-up list of all the documents on the page, and then you can select the ones you want to save. You'll want to use the folder icon when you click on the document and it goes straight to the pdf. If you try to save the document when its in PDF format, Zotero won't pick up any of the bibliographic informaiton, but if you save the item through the folder icon, you'll get that bibliographic information.
The "webpage" icon
You'll often get this icon when your browsing on webpages with no documents attached. If you click on this icon, Zotero will save the information from the webpage you're currently visiting.
Create a new item from current page.
If you don't want to use the items, you can also use the button on your Zotero window that allows you to create a screenshot of your current page. This will come up with basic bibliographic information, such as title, date and URL, but you'll have to fill in the rest.
Create new item (manually create items)
Or you can manaully input an item and add all the bibliographic information in yourself.
Before you create an citations, remember to set up your default citation style. Go to Preferences--> Export--> Default Output Format.
To create a single bibliographic citaion, just drag the record from the middle column of your Zotero window into whatever new location you'd like it to go. It can be a Word document, blog, e-mail, etc.
To create bibliography of all documents in a collection, right-click on the collection folder, and select "Create Bibliography from Citation...". Then, if you select "copy to clipboard", you can just paste the citations into your Word document.
To create in-text citations, you'll need to install a word processor plug-in. More information on that here.